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Brands partner across categories to cross-promote, help recovery amid covid

Food and beverage maker Pepsico India partnered with telecom company Airtel to offer up to 2 GB of data with the purchase of LAY’S, Kurkure, Uncle Chipps and Doritos packs. (Bloomberg)Premium
Food and beverage maker Pepsico India partnered with telecom company Airtel to offer up to 2 GB of data with the purchase of LAY’S, Kurkure, Uncle Chipps and Doritos packs. (Bloomberg)

  • Zomato partnered with Amazon Prime Video to promote online orders to coincide with the release of Season 2 of the crime drama Mirzapur
  • FMCG companies like Pepsico and Amul have partnered with telcos and media companies to offer additional data and promote product sales

NEW DELHI: A slew of brands across categories are partnering to cross-promote their offerings and widen reach to similar target groups and audiences amid the pandemic. Covid-19 has struck a huge blow to businesses across the spectrum, leading to a need for innovative marketing strategies. This is also important arises as people tend to reduce discretionary spends to focus only on essentials and seek more value. This has led companies, already stressed to build scale, to collaborate to bring attractive propositions.

Earlier this month, food delivery app Zomato and video streaming platform Amazon Prime Video came together to encourage viewers to order their favourite food to coincide with the return of the second season of the popular crime drama Mirzapur. Before that, media and entertainment conglomerate Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) had partnered with big brands such as Amul Lassi, Nestle's Maggi, and Cadbury Dairy Milk to co-create billboards asking consumers to stock up and brace themselves for fresh daily television soaps, as the network resumed production after a three-month halt.

Food and beverage maker Pepsico India partnered with telecom company Airtel to offer up to 2 GB of data with the purchase of LAY’S, Kurkure, Uncle Chipps and Doritos packs. The co-branding pact was based on two consumer insights— increased consumption of data and people spending more time at home, leading to increased in-home consumption of food and beverages. Meanwhile, Titan's “Let’s Get India Ticking" campaign brought players across industries together to uplift consumer sentiments and kickstart the economy. In the first phase, Titan collaborated with over 75 brands and companies such as Bata, Voltas, Westside and Okhai, the latter being a handcrafted online apparel brand, among others, to promote the campaign.

"The pandemic has taught us to be a lot more resourceful and to look for solutions. Although such collaborations were happening as one offs pre-covid too, they became commonplace because brands were actively looking to serve consumers by partnering with firms with a similar target group and objectives," said Ajay Gupte, chief executive - South Asia, Wavemaker, a GroupM owned media agency who expects more such partnerships to be forged going forward. Savlon, for instance, has partnered with Swiggy to deliver sanitisers along with food orders, he added.

The entrenched fan base of Mirzapur had been eagerly awaiting the launch of the second season and had a binge-fest on the opening weekend, said Gaurav Gandhi, director and country general manager, Amazon Prime Video India.

“Given the huge popularity of the show, multiple consumer brands came onboard to co-market Mirzapur and tap into this pop-culture phenomenon. Among these, one of the most notable ones is our association with Zomato, where their users ordered delicious food as the perfect accompaniment to the bingeworthy series - all of this done with Mirzapur style creative execution using popular stars from the show," Gandhi added.

Not just specific cross-promotional campaigns, some brands are trying to encourage consumers to help the industry, as a whole. Earlier this week, fast food chain Burger King appealed to its customers in the UK to order from competitors, including long-time rival McDonald’s.

“We never thought we’d be asking you to do this, but restaurants employing thousands of staff really need your support at the moment," it said in a statement, which also named KFC, Subway, Taco Bell and Domino’s Pizza, among other chains.

This kind of marketing works in times of turmoil, Harish Bijoor, brand strategy expert and founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc said.

“During the ongoing covid crisis when every business is struggling, the sentiment shared by brands is cooperative. The Burger King ad, for instance, simply urges consumers to order from any restaurant as the entire QSR industry is down. It is an extremely macro view to marketing where brands come together and help build consumer confidence," Bijoor added.

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